7/19/2006

Happy Birthday Daddy!


















I've often wondered about my father's childhood and what he was like growing up. Other than a few pictures and maybe a couple of brief glimpses on someone's blurry, silent videotape, it's hard to really get a feel for what his life was like. Of course he's told us stories, probably when we pestered him, since he isn't one to talk about himself much.

Still, we loved his tales about living on the Coronet, working in a boat yard in Gloucester, and his adventures in Bible school. I remember eagerly perusing his high school yearbook, and a similiar book he had from basic training, looking for pictures of him. When he attended Brown, he worked for and, I think, lived with an eccentric, wealthy old man, chaffeuring him from place to place in a variety of luxury cars. We used to beg for the hilarious antecdotes from this era.

I remember wanting to hear stories of youthful indiscretion or just plain bad behavior mostly because I just couldn't imagine it. There was some satisfaction in hearing the story of Grandpa M, pulling the car off the road and yanking Daddy and Uncle T out to administer discipline because of their bickering. What were they arguing about? And the time my father had to run out of a church meeting because he was trying not to laugh.

It was hard for me to imagine even the mildest lapse of judgement on his part because I have always known my father to be patient, disciplined and consistent. Quiet and sometimes hard to read with an appreciation for dry, understated humor.

My father taught me how to plant seeds in a straight line, to take good care of library books, to return other people's property in good condition, to ice skate, to pray for things "with my whole heart", how to look for tomato worms and dispose of them, how to shoot a .22, to be aware of my blind spot when driving. My father taught us how to play, "Here 'Tis" on long car rides (What? you don't know this game? It's better than the alphabet game), how to look ahead to a bright future in spite of natural pessimism.

My father always encouraged all of his children and expressed his love to us out loud regularly. Even though there have been many times I've marvelled that I descended from one so temperate, discreet, kind and even-keeled, I've never doubted his love for me. He holds steady through darkness and pain. I'm incredibly blessed to have him for a father.

Happy Birthday Daddy!

13 comments:

Cara said...

You are blessed indeed. I'm so thankful for the best "e-mail pal" there is. His gentle spirit is an amazing example. What a wonderful person. Happy Birthday, Mr. Murray!

Mrs. RF said...

Yeah for your Dad! And, Happy Birthday Dave!

Shari said...

Wow, I got all teary. What an amazing post! Tell you dad Happy Birthday for me!

Claire said...

Again, nice job, Liane. And Happy Birthday, Daddy! I will call you tonight!

Claire said...

And where on EARTH did you find that picture? I don't think I've ever seen it before!

ljmax said...

claire--is that you tying up Daddy's phone? Ha...yes, Janelle sent me a bunch of family pics. that I think Toria salvaged from some old slides or something...there's a bunch more I should send you some.

Avalanche Cowpoke said...

Happy Birthday Dave!!!

drewey fern said...

Beautifully done. Happy Birthday, Uncle Dave!

melbrown said...

Awesome post, Liane. Your dad is for sure in the top 99th percentile of the World's Most Incredible People.

Huzzah for "Here 'Tis"! Andrew taught the RI crew and we mocked him mercilessly for it...mostly just because of the title. I must admit it was a pretty cool game.

the Joneses said...

Happy Birthday to Dr. Dave, who was a very good friend to me in high school and Bible School - always willing to listen and discuss on an adult level.

And now I want rules to "Here 'Tis," please. I'm curious :)

lis said...

Happy birthday, Mr. M! Honored to know you!

ljmax said...

Here 'Tis:
(Best played on the highway) Passengers (game not safe for drivers!) all agree on a landmark they can see on the road ahead such as a bridge, sign, building etc...and then close their eyes until they think they are next to it and then shout out, "Here Tis!!" with as much gusto as the early settlers who thought up this game. Whoever is closest tis the winner!

(Keith raised all sorts of questions and objections to these here rules but all I can say is work it out amongst yourselves...it does work!)

I remember playing this once when Lloyd Brown was driving our family to tour the DC area and he added some extra challenge by constantly varying his speeds dramatically which threw us all off!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to a fellow Brunonian! :)
-Libby